I've been reading a bit of Shoujo manga lately. Lately as in: about a month ago. Thought I'd post about it then but here we go again... delays! Maybe I hesitated because - for those of you who don't know - Shoujo is a form of manga directed primarily towards a a young female audience.
So it's not the type of stuff a growing-old man like me would boast about reading! But a little romance now and then... it's not bad. These particular ones happened to have a bit of action and intrigue, too. They weren't excessively girly - really! If you haven't tried Shoujo before (but have read other manga) then these might not so different after all.
First off there's Basara, which I only have three books of yet (and there's at least twenty) but hope to be getting more of! The style feels rushed sometimes, but looks good, and is drawn in an airy and emotional way.
The story's that of a girl named Sasara taking on her dead brother Tatara's role as revolutionary, to as prophecy foretells ignite a rebellion in a wicked land and overthrow the King and his four sons.
She soon realizes that the one in the prophecy was actually her - as they were twins, and the further things go the more dangerous her role. She leads a double life as both girl and boy, and happens to fall in love with one of the King's sons but doesn't know who he is. And of course he doesn't know she's Tatara - the spark of hope he's determined to kill.
It's a pretty exciting story! The characters are great and the emotion flares mightily. I want to read more.
Then, there's Planet Ladder. I've only read a couple books of this one too, but it seems promising. It's about a girl who's cast into a parallel world, and discovers there are actually seven parallel Earth's fighting for control.
The balance is becoming unstable, and only one can survive. A certain princess from a forgotten time has the power to say who will survive over all others... and it turns out that princess is her!
Compared to the previous the drawing style here feels a bit amateur-like, and the characters both naive and... stupid. But I do like the premises. Hope to get to the end of this one too...
Finally there's Vampire Knight: The story of a girl and boy who act like guards and mediators between the night and day class of a particular school. What the students don't know in the day class is that the night class consists of vampires, and what the main character (the girl of course) doesn't know is that the other guard is a vampire too, in the process of becoming, and though he loathes their race he eventually can't withstand the urge of blood any longer.
They form a special bond, yet one of the vampires in the night class saved her life from a rogue vampire back in the day and... well, it gets messy. I read a couple of books on this one too; hope to get more. Why is manga still so hard to come by over here...
It also gets unexpectedly savage, and so in the end... I'm surprised.
I'm surprised because Shoujo Manga really isn't only all about flowers and roses, and simple love. It can have a compelling storyline too, and the main character being a girl doesn't take away from the relatability after all.
I also feel like there's often a greater sense of mystery with Shoujo - which possibly ties in with the romance. There's definitely more emotion too, and the one thing I don't really like about the genre: often a sense of helplessness, a lack of confidence, or similar emotional flaws the main character strives to overcome.
It's also often used by the male characters, as the damsel in distress is saved, or helped, or somehow salvaged through the darkness by the knight in shining armor. It's not that stereotypical, or predictable, but it's there.
In comparison the main character in a Shonen manga will often be the one saving others. The one in control. The knight in white armor himself - and so it's often a similar story, just told from a different side.
It just so happens I was introduced to one more of these series earlier, when my sister gave me a pile of D.N.Angel books. I gave those a try and... they were alright! Guess my stereotypes started melting away at that point.
There's also Ranma 1/2, which is a bit like a hybrid between the two (between Shoujo and Shonen).
If you've been avoiding this particular genre: give it a try - you might like it!
I've also read though SandLand, but that's not Shoujo so there you go yo. But it was great too. I'll keep reading and make room (for more books cause they're way huge).